Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two things you should never blog about...

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. (Matthew 5:11 NIV)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

Religion and politics.

Nothing shuts down (or fires up) a conversation quicker than mention of government, guns, or God. But when you are in a ministry family, it's hard to avoid speaking about religion in casual conversation. It's a part of who you are.

I pride myself on being open-minded. I have the ability to disagree with someone without changing my personal opinion of him/her. But I've learned the hard way this week that not everyone has the same capacity. Trying to have an judgment-free, intelligent conversation about an emotionally-charged subject isn't always possible with everyone.

Social media can be a wonderful tool. But it can also be destructive. An innocent inquiry or comment can become a firestorm. Assumptions are made. Sides are taken. Names called. Trouble stirred. Anger stoked. And in the end, the conversation goes nowhere.

It's hard to remain silent when you or people you care about are being attacked. But that is exactly what Jesus asks of us, as evidenced in the above verse from Matthew.

I was tempted to let some very unwholesome talk fly on Facebook (sorry, Saint Paul). But instead, I waited. I prayed. I sought wise council. I remembered that it is more important to build up the Kingdom of God than it is to be "right". It is not my job to judge. My actions are a reflection on Christians everywhere. In the end, I tried to reach out to the person with whom I was disagreeing. I invited this person to meet for coffee.

A year ago I would not have been able to do that: reach out to someone who had hurt me. But since my focus this year is to EMBRACE my daily situations and struggles, I felt called to be compassionate in the face of anger. God is working on me!

I'm not sure how Jesus would handle a discussion of current events at a dinner party or PTA meeting, but I do know this: He would answer with love and without judgment. And He wouldn't plaster it on Facebook.

How is God working on you today?

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